Visual Basic 2012 Lesson 6- Managing Data

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Visual Basic programming often involves manipulation of all sorts of data. Among them, some can be calculated while others are in the form of text, date, time and more. Visual Basic 2012 divides data into different types so that it is easier for the programmers to manage them.

6.1 Visual Basic 2012 Data Types

Visual Basic 2012 classifies the aforementioned information into two major data types, they are the numeric data type and the non-numeric data type.

6.1.1 Numeric Data Types

Numeric data types are types of data that consist of numbers that can be computed mathematically. Examples of numeric data types are examination marks, height, weight, the price of goods, monthly bills, fees and etc.

In Visual Basic 2012, numeric data are divided into seven types, depending on the range of values they can store. Calculations that do not require precision can use Integer or a Long integer in the computation. Programs that require high precision calculation need to use Single and Double precision data types, they are also called floating point numbers. For currency calculation, you can use the currency data types. Lastly, if even more precision is required to perform calculations that involve many decimal points, we can use the decimal data types. These data types are summarized in Table 6.1

Visual Basic 2012

6.1.2 Non-numeric Data Types

Non-numeric data types are data that cannot be manipulated mathematically using standard arithmetic operators. The non-numeric data comprises text or string data types, the Date data types, the Boolean data types that store only two values (true or false), Object data type and Variant data type.They are summarized in Table 6.2

Visual Basic 2012

6.1.3 Suffixes for Literals

Literals are values that you assign to a data. In some cases, we need to add a suffix behind a literal so that Visual Basic 2012 can handle the calculation more accurately. For example, we can use num=1.3089# for a Double type data. Some of the suffixes are displayed in Table 6.3.
Visual Basic 2012

In addition, we need to enclose string literals within two quotations and we enclose date and time literals within two # sign. Strings can contain any characters, including numbers. The following are few examples:

memberName="Turban, John."
ExpTime=#12:00 am#

6.2 Managing Variables

Variables are like mailboxes in the post office. The contents of the variables change every now and then, just like the mailboxes. In term of Visual Basic 2012, variables are areas allocated by the computer memory to hold data. Like the mailboxes, each variable must be given a name. To name a variable in Visual Basic 2012, you have to follow a set of rules.

6.2.1 Variable Names

The following are the rules when naming the variables in Visual Basic 2012

It must be less than 255 characters
No spacing is allowed
It must not begin with a number
Period is not permitted
Examples of valid and invalid variable names are displayed in Table 6.4
Visual Basic 2012

6.2.2 Declaring Variables

In Visual Basic 2012, one needs to declare the variables before using them by assigning names and data types. If you fail to do so, the program will show an error. They are normally declared in the general section of the codes’ windows using the Dim statement.
The syntax  is as follows:

Dim Variable Name As Data Type

Example 6.1

Private Sub Form1_Load(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Load
Dim password As String
Dim yourName As String
Dim firstnum As Integer
Dim secondnum As Integer
Dim total As Integer
Dim doDate As Date
End Sub

You may also combine them in one line, separating each variable with a comma, as follows:

Dim password As String, yourName As String, firstnum As Integer,.............

For string declaration, there are two possible forms, one for the variable-length string and another for the fixed-length string. For the variable-length string, just use the same syntax as example 6.1 above. However, for the fixed-length string, you have to use the syntax  as shown below:

Dim VariableName as String * n, where n defines the number of characters the string can hold.

Example 6.2:

Dim yourName as String * 10

yourName can hold no more than 10 Characters.

6.2.3 Assigning Values to Variables

After declaring various variables using the Dim statements, we can assign values to those variables. The syntax of an assignment is


The variable can be a declared variable or a control property value. The expression could be a mathematical expression, a number, a string, a Boolean value (true or false) and etc. The following are some examples:

userName="John Lyan"
userpass.Text = password
Label1.Visible = True
Command1.Visible = false
Label4.Caption = textbox1.Text
ThirdNumber = Val(usernum1.Text)
total = firstNumber + secondNumber+ThirdNumber

6.3 Constants

Constants are different from variables in the sense that their values do not change during the running of the program.

6.3.1 Declaring a Constant

The syntax to declare a constant is

Const Constant Name As Data Type = Value

Example 6.3

Private Sub Form1_Load(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Load
 Const Pi As Single=3.142
 Const Temp As Single=37
 Const Score As Single=100
End Sub

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